The year’s shortest month got an extra 24 hours and there was no shortage of good musical releases – two things to be thankful for. Unfortunately, you may have missed some of them due to Super Bowl’s, Grammy’s, Oscar’s and other such nonsense. Luckily for you I don’t pay any of that any mind and I can keep my ears listening for what’s new and good, so you don’t have to. These are the albums I found this month, enjoyed and recommend. Most of them can be streamed before purchasing, and some of them can be added to your hard drive for zero dollars and zero cents. But please, always support when you can. See if there’s anything you missed and as always, if I neglected anything, let me know in the comments section.
February projects I enjoyed, in no particular order:
Truth – From Ashes To Kingdom Come
Brash, unadulterated, in-your-face boom bapness…and just the way I like it. And to top it off, TKM favorite, Sean Price offers a few bars on the third track where KRS-ONE lyrics make up the hook – win, win, win. Street-corner music for those that grew up on SP-1200 beats and honest, no-frill lyrics. Loops and lyrics, cuts, samples, and everything you love about headphone meditations…thank the Hip Hop Gods.
Support and cop HERE.
Fat Albert Einstein – 2U4U
2U4U was my introduction to Fat Albert Einstein…glad to make your acquaintance, sir. I’m always more impressed with cats who can bring more than a knowledge of sampling to their repertoire so it’s nice to get something from a multi-instrumentalist who’s a student of the game. The album is dedicated to everybody’s favorite producer – James Yancey and you get that feeling as you make your way through the project’s 16 tracks. Vibe heavy…good soundtrack for the working man’s (or woman’s) hustle. Get it.
Zilla Rocca X Small Pro – Sin Will Find You: The Collected Works
A nice collection of tracks from Wrecking Crew members Zilla Rocca and Small Pro. If those names are new to you, this is a great introduction. This is for anyone that can rhyme along line for line to any 2 RZA songs that come to mind. If you’re about that, then you’ll be about this. Great features from Curly Castro, Has-Lo, Che Grand and more. It’s a name-your-price compilation but I had to throw them a few nickels for this one (and not just because Zilla is a brand new daddy, kids ain’t cheap) – it’s better than most albums that have gotten lots of shine this month. And to top it off, there’s an ode to one of my all time favorite NBA athletes, Allen Iverson. Yeah, start here and then work your way through the rest of the Crew’s catalogue. You’re welcome.
Pig Pen Incredibly Illegal
I saw this one circulating as I scrolled through my social media this month and I almost missed it due to the name and cover art. I know, I know…judging a book. I’m sorry. This album is not only Incredibly Illegal, it’s incredibly dope. I still don’t think Pig Pen is a great name for an up-and-coming artist and the artwork is subpar but put on your headphones and push play…this is workflow music for those of us that came up scouring over liner notes and j-cards. A lot of my favorite artists of the past 25 years that are still making music haven’t been choosing beats that sit well with me. They’d do well to connect with this guy or just rock over these beats (looking at you Common). Executive produced by my generation’s walking, talking, writing, musical encyclopedia, Dart Adams – this dude knows good music. If he co-signs something, I’mma give it a listen. You should too. Check it out…
The Deli – Vibes 3
More instrumental music. Trust me, before the day’s over I’m going to have you with enough music to get you through your daily operations than there are daily operations. This was a random find…I’m always appreciative of the random finds. It had me going back and checking out the previous 2 Vibe albums from Austin’s own, The Deli. Very jazzy and laid back, reminds me of the Mushroom Jazz series. This is Sunday morning breakfast music and Tuesday afternoon wind down music and play-this-while-the-kids-are-doing-arts-and-crafts music all in one. Fresh!
Willie Evans Jr. – The Crush
This year’s Valentine’s album. Willie Evans Jr. looped a bunch of samples that you wouldn’t think of rhyming over and then went and rhymed over them…and this shit is nice. If you’re a fan of DOOM, you’ll be a fan of this. The soul samples set a vibe that you think will set the tone and then he starts rhyming and takes it somewhere completely different. The project is only 6 tracks deep but “Give Thanks” (one of my favorite tracks this year) clocks in at over 7 minutes and helps give the overall feel of a full LP. From Willie:
“About 72 hours ago I came pretty close to having a nervous break down. What you’re watching is how I dealt with it. All of these pieces revolve around the concept of love and the many ways we choose to process it.”
Ruste Juxx & Kyo Itachi – Meteorite
If you know these two at all then you already know what this is. Boom Bap in the same vein as Jedi Mind Tricks, Random Axe and Snowgoons. Not for the meek or timid. This is raw, unfiltered Hip Hop for hardcore heads. This is the kind of music I need for my workouts. I highly recommend this great collaboration from Shinigamie Records.
LMNO – Motherboard
LMNO has a deeeeep catalogue. He’s worked with all of your favorite producers and even produced a bit himself. This go around he chose to create a sound made entirely of live instrumentation. It’s experimental for sure…and it works. He’s probably wondering why he didn’t do this sooner. I know I am. Lately, everyone thinks that in order to be experimental you need to have computer game blips and bleeps, but what about just going a different direction with the way the sounds are laid out? Yo, I’m feeling this! Last week I tweeted that “After The Fact” was my favorite LMNO album…might have to rethink that after spending time with this one.
Quelle Chris – Lullabies For The Broken Brain
I promise, I didn’t intend on sharing mostly instrumental projects this month. I can only share what gets served up. This record reminds me of a rare jazz record you randomly pick up from the dollar bins. Not the sound of it, the feel of it. It’s 2 and 3 minute samplings of experiments using records I just spoke of. It’s beautifully strange. See what you think…
One Be Lo and Bean One – The Original Born Ones
It’s interesting because this album was created 10 years ago but it couldn’t be more on-time and relevant than it is now. The project itself is dope and I can’t say enough about it but let me lay this on you – it’s being sold for $1 right now but before you pay that, please be aware that
“Monies made from the sale of these Water Guns (products) will be donated to Grassroots organizations in Flint dedicated to immediate and long term solutions for the people of Flint. The Goal is to raise $100,000 or more. You can support by donating any price for the download, or by purchasing products intended for the same purpose.”
Bean One and One Be Lo put together a really good project. I highly recommend it. Give a listen and then support.
Timeless Truth – Cold Wave
Don’t take my word on this one. If you can put together a project that features Large Professor, Marco Polo, Your Old Droog, DJ Skizz, Sean Price, and Roc Marci…you must be doing something right. These Lo Lifes have put together an incredible project with dope artwork, beats and everything else I love about Hip Hop. This one will probably be on my end of the year list, if I’m being completely honest. Don’t miss out on Cold Waves if you love good Hip Hop and still listen to Main Source. Two thumbs way up!
Lushlife/CSLSX – Ritualize
I was kinda hesitant to share this one. I’m not always crazy about the MC or what he’s saying…but the production is incredible. I would love to get a copy of the instrumental of this project. Don’t miss the collaborations with Killer Mike and Freeway, though. Check it out and see what you think…
Two months down and already enough good music for a cross country trip. Lookin’ forward to what March springs on us.